Thursday, December 31, 2009

No more tears

Just back from another successful trip to the grocery store with BabyT. So far I've only ventured to Safeway because I *know* their carts fit the infant seat securely. Odd, the things you have to consider when you've got to take your baby places. I'm also a lot more sensitive to what people in wheelchairs need to go through - when I've got the stroller, I've got to find the path that has no stairs, or the dip in the curb, a place that's wide enough for me to pass, etc.

But anyway, I am planning to make chicken tortellini stew in the slow cooker. The chili did turn out well, and it is nice to just dump everything in and leave it to cook, as long as I've planned ahead. Unfortunately I need to substitute a leek (leek!leek!leek! - that's the noise they make) for the fennel I didn't find at the grocery. Not sure how that's going to work.

We also discovered over the past couple of days that our baby NEEDS her routine, and does not like disruption. Not surprising, since TJ and I are both pretty sensitive to changes in our day to day schedules. We have spent a few wretched nights trying to get her to sleep for the night, with multiple attempts and lots of yelling (on her part). She'd sleep for 20 min, or an hour, then wake up screaming again. This, I'm pretty sure, is a direct result of us disrupting her bedtime on Tuesday to go out to dinner with John, Jenna, and Ella, and my lunch out with Aimee yesterday (which shot her afternoon naps completely to hell).

So we paid for it, and now we've learned our lesson. Sadly, I think our days of "porta-baby" are over. I think outings now have to happen right after she wakes up and then we need to get home in time for the next nap (or at least very shortly thereafter). Sigh. I'll just add that to the long list of things that are different now.

But on the bright side, following her schedule really REALLY pays off. We get lots of smiles, she wakes up quietly and just makes baby sounds in her crib until one of us picks her up, and she's alert and happy to play with toys by herself. So it's not completely thankless.

Here's a picture of Gorgeous Bean playing with Jacques the Peacock, her Christmas present from her Great-Aunt Susie:

Trillian and Jacques the Peacock

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My hands are small I know

It is cold and dry here. We've all got dry itchy skin, even Peanut. I guess Spike has been spared from it, and Baby Gorgeous Bean doesn't seem to be itchy, just dry. We are running a humidifier in the bedroom, which has the unfortunate side effect of dropping the temperature, so we also run the space heater, which probably counteracts the positive effects of the humidifier. All of which increases our energy consumption, which makes TJ sad.

What is it with new babies and their wacky skin? T has had icky "cradle cap", ie dry scalp since she was a few weeks old and it's showing no signs of going away. And then there was the baby acne, which thankfully has gone away. Fortunately she is cute, so it doesn't render her a social pariah like it would if she was a grownup.
For now we just put olive oil on it so my Darling Bean smells like pizza. (I guess there are worse things to smell like.)

Yesterday I made chili in the slow cooker I borrowed from a friend at work. It came out well, but I'm not sure it really saved me any time or effort. I can see how it would if you wanted to leave the house, though. I bought a slow cooker cookbook by the checkout at the grocery store, so I thought I'd try some of those recipes out before deciding whether we *need* a slow cooker.

Tomorrow Gorgeous Bean and I are going downtown to visit my friend Aimee at the company I worked for a few years ago. We are going to eat at CJ's, which has awesome breakfast-for-lunch options. Yay!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I can trace every line on your face

This has been a great weekend (except for the aforementioned napping/bedtime difficulties). Last night I went to the Tractor in the oh-so-trendy Ballard neighborhood of Seattle to see Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs and Kristen Ward play. I couldn't find anyone to go because it was the day after Christmas, but fortunately my friend Dave (who's also the band's manager) and some other folks who I've met at these shows were there so I didn't have to feel like the loser girl who goes to shows by herself.

It was awesome, and a very late night for me. I left the house just after 9pm and got home after 2am. Kinda like I used to do when I was not so old and not someone's mother. Heh. The best part was that BabyT was sleeping when I left and still sleeping when I returned so she didn't make her daddy work for his money like she did in October when I saw Vienna Teng.

As an added bonus, Mike McCready, the lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, played a few songs there as well. It's neat to think about this guy who has played in huge soccer stadiums around the world, was playing a few of his own songs in a local club for a $7 cover charge. This is why I love Seattle.

I also got to try out my new camera (Canon S90) at the bar - the low light setting is pretty awesome. Not as good as a fancy DSLR with telephoto lens, but pretty darn good for a compact camera. I'm still learning about the features but even without that, the pictures are pretty good, and way better than my 5-year-old Powershot.

Today was a good cooking day, too. I made miso-glazed cod and saffron cream mashed potatoes for dinner, from the big green Bon Appetit "fast easy fresh" cookbook. It was surprisingly easy. I'm not really a cooked-fish person, so I'm not sure I'd make that again (we had frozen cod fillets I needed to use). But the mashed potatoes - YUM! You can't go wrong with potatoes and heavy cream. I'm not sure I could tell there was any saffron in there, except for the color.

I signed up for a digital photography class in January so hopefully that'll get me some practice and some new skills, especially with taking pictures of small wiggly babies.

And as far as those wiggly babies are concerned, I leave you with a picture taken with my new fancy camera:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I have no gift to bring

Busy couple of days for us at the Creath House! On Tuesday, BabyT and I drove the 44 miles to my friend Wendi's house, where we spent the afternoon with her and her 13-month-old little guy M. It allowed T to get a good nap in the car (she slept nearly the whole way there and back) so it worked out pretty well. She also napped in the restaurant while I had my first sushi since she was born. Yippee!!

We haven't fared so well in the past two days. On Xmas eve, she was woken up at 6am by one of the dogs, I think, and started her day yelling. (Usually when she wakes up on her own, she's mellow and alert and makes baby noises to herself in the crib until I wake up and notice her. She's also usually staring at me through the crib bars, and smiles when I make eye contact. A nice way to wake up, huh? But when she's unexpectedly woken up by a hungry dog at 6am, she is NOT pleased. (Truth be told, neither am I.)

And then, the lady that cleans our house was here, so BabyT had to take her morning nap in the swing, which isn't standard. But on the bright side, I got to watch "Rabbitproof Fence" finally, which we've had from Netflix for WEEKS. Of course it wasn't a cheerful Xmas movie, and thoroughly depressed me, but it was good.

We went out to lunch at Red Robin because TJ was craving their teriyaki chicken sandwich. Normally I'm not a fan of RR (too many screaming kids and it smells like dirty wet dishtowels) but since he had a craving, I agreed to go there. Plus the one at Redmond Town Center is slightly less annoying and smelly. BabyT did ok there but stayed wide awake. We then took her to the dog park, where she slept for a few minutes here and there, but didn't get a good nap.

And of course, in the evening it took us 3 tries and FOREVER to get her to sleep for the night. In her usual cooperative way, once she fell asleep for good, she did stay asleep *all night* but we spent a good 2.5 hours getting to that point.

Yesterday we went over to TJ's aunt and uncle's place for Christmas brunch. Which meant that BabyT didn't get her usual morning nap. She got about 30 min in the car (no traffic!) and then slept a little in the Sleepy Wrap while we were there, but in general, her chi had been disrupted. And again we had a bit of a challenge getting her to bed, but fortunately she went to sleep a little earlier.

And then she slept until 8:30 this morning, so woo hoo! Today's nap situation has been not so great (30 min tops, eating every 1.5 hours, and we're on the 3rd nap of the day). I'm hoping after a couple of days of our "normal" schedule, she'll get back to the usual 45 min - 1.5 hour naps. I know it's our fault for messing with a good thing, but sometimes we have to leave the house!

And as much as I hate the arrogant tone of Dr. W in "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child", I do think some of his ideas are spot-on. Like getting better sleep during the day leads to better sleep at night, and that putting the baby down earlier leads to her sleeping later. And maybe even (at least for our baby) that sleep in a stroller/car/swing isn't as good as non-motion sleep. I know other babies that can *only* sleep in their swings, though, so people have to do what works. Apparently it doesn't work for us.

And as if on cue, BabyT is fussing again. Sigh. I am surely paying for my schedule-disruption. She gets that from both of her parents, for sure. Wish us luck in getting back on track :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Do you see what I see? (2009 Creath Family Holiday Summary)

Trillian Mira in a Santa Hat

Instead of killing more trees than I already am, with the handful of real live Christmas cards I send out, I thought I'd do one of those "year in review" letters online instead.

So of course, the big news for 2009 is that our family of four increased to a family of five. TJ and I and Spike and Peanut welcomed our new baby girl, Trillian Mira, into our family in September. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. I'll start at the beginning.

At the very end of 2008, we were invited by a friend to the recording studio where my new favorite band, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, were working on their newest album, The Only Thing That Matters. That was an unforgettable experience, and well worth driving through a few snowstorms.

On January 17, 2009, I found out I was pregnant. I didn't believe the test at first, so I did it twice. Luckily my doctor was open on Saturday, and they confirmed it there as well. We found out for sure while we were having lunch at Matador. That night, our BabyX got to attend her first live rock show - Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs, of course. Since she was just a bunch of cells at that point, I'm guessing she didn't hear anything.

Shortly after finding out, we went to Savannah for a long weekend to visit my parents, but unfortunately I spent most of the time in bed with an awful cold. Sad.

Though we told our families pretty soon after we found out, we kept it a secret from everyone else until we made it past the 12-week mark, in March. That was really hard for me, since I can't keep a secret worth a damn. We had a bit of a sticky situation in January, literally 3 days after we found out. Through a charity raffle at work, I won a free private dinner for 8 people at Crush, a trendy (and yummy) restaurant in Seattle. The first course was salt-cured raw tuna, which I couldn't have, but I had to find a subtle way to let the chef know. I wasn't subtle enough and my friend Jenna (who was also pregnant at the time, but not stealthily) picked up on it. But thankfully she could keep a secret.

We both learned some new skills at the beginning of the year. TJ took an art welding class at Pratt Fine Arts Center (the same place I took my metalsmithing series last year). Around that same time, I took a few months of rock drumming lessons. We both loved our classes, but haven't been able to rationalize getting either a welding setup or a full drum kit for the house. Sad, I know.

TJ went on several trips to Oregon for motorcycle track days in the middle of nowhere in April, May, June and the beginning of August. He took both the Ducati and the Triumph in his fancy trailer. The dogs kept me company at home though they were often confused at bedtime, because TJ was not there. On the bright side, they know that I like to sleep in so I was spared the Food Whining of the Beagle at 7am. He usually waits until 9am when it's just me.

Both of us continued to work at Microsoft. We love living so close to work. TJ can walk to his office in 19 minutes, and it would be even shorter if he could just cut through other peoples' yards.

We found out BabyX was going to be a girl in May, but they weren't sure, so we had them confirm it again at later ultrasounds. Fortunately, they were correct :)

My mom came to visit in June and we did a whirlwind of baby shopping, then TJ's parents visited in July and helped out with some house projects. Both visits yielded us some yummy food as well.

In July, we started our "getting ready for baby" classes. In retrospect we did get some great information, even if it was horribly annoying at the time. I found out that my husband and I are equally squeamish about watching videos about childbirth. I think one of them actually made me cry. I'm really grateful that TJ attended all of the classes with me. That made it more fun, and he convinced me to go when I wanted to bail out.

My friend Kristin came out to visit for July 4. We tried to go to the International Beer Festival at the Seattle Center, but waiting in line for over an hour was not happening for me, especially since I couldn't drink any beer once I got there. So we rode the rickety Seattle monorail instead. Now I can say I've done it, and don't need to do it again.

We didn't do much traveling - we wanted to stay close to home to get ready for BabyX. The end of July was nasty-hot (for Seattle), temps above 100 degrees. At 7 months pregnant it was pretty uncomfortable so I spent a lot of time at work, and the rest of the time holed up with the dogs in our air-conditioned bedroom (the only room with ac in our house). TJ was roasting at a sport bike rally and track day weekend at this time, sleeping outside in Eastern Oregon. Poor guy.

I spent a decent amount of time during those hot, uncomfortable months sitting in our hot tub, which we haven't used much since buying our house 5 years ago. It was nice and relaxing and helped a tiny bit with the swelling in my WALL-E feet. (remember the fat humans on the space ship?) If it weren't so darn funny, I would have been mad at TJ for being mean to me like that.

August and the early part of September were spent with me getting huger and eating lots of apple pie, and TJ and I freaking out about how there was going to be a BABY in our house, and what the heck were we going to do with A BABY?!

And then she arrived, and in an instant changed our life. She's been (knock on wood) a really cooperative baby, and she seems to follow the milestone "schedule" on cue. ie, exactly on the day I was 20 weeks pregnant, I felt her move. Exactly on her 6 week birthday, she smiled at us on purpose (it wasn't gas or poo).

Of course we are thrilled, but we've also had adjustments to make. The pups don't get as much attention or trips to the park. (Wrangling baby, stroller, and two dogs is a bit more than one person can handle.) We're not going to Vegas anytime soon. (I really don't think Vegas is a family vacation sort of place, plus what do we do with the baby when we want to play hours of pai gow poker?) Quick errands aren't so quick when you have a baby in the car too. Even something as simple as returning library books isn't - our closest library branch doesn't have a drive-up book drop, so you have to go inside to return books.

But we're rolling with the changes, and having a great time with BabyT. She got to meet both sets of grandparents, her Aunt Robin, and her great-Granny in late October and early November. She has started playing with toys a little and randomly whacking her head with her hands less. She makes awesome baby noises so we can pretend like we're having a conversation. Now that she's 3 months old, we can take her out to more places, though we're still careful because of the dreaded swine flu. She's been to several local restaurants and a few friends' houses and behaved admirably. I'm guessing that won't continue for long so we should enjoy it while we can.

Like all new parents we've been taking lots of pictures. Our Christmas present to ourselves this year is a brand new Canon S90 camera, which will be much better for baby pics, so we're anxiously awaiting its arrival.

Now that BabyT is a bit older, and sleeping pretty well, I've been able to get back to my craftiness. I've been really busy with orders this holiday season. My work was featured on Good Morning America on December 7. That really boosted sales, and continues to be good for my shops. Woo hoo! And that came from a chance encounter - one of my customers happened to work for GMA and asked if she could feature me.

So things are great with us, and we hope they are for you, too. Merry Christmas and best wishes to everyone in 2010. Happy New Year!!

TJ & Anandi in Santa Hats

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love is a word so small

Yay, Day 2 of blogging about What We Did Today. BabyT has a very busy social calendar, so busy that we had to turn down an invitation to lunch yesterday from a friend and postpone until next week.

Today we went over to my friend Jenna's house for a little while. Her BabyE is about 7 weeks older than BabyT. Which seems like a LOT now, but the gap is steadily closing, and by the time they're 2 or 3, it will probably seem tiny.

The lunch outing today was to Geraldine's Counter, which is an amazing yuppie diner. I had a grilled cheese with bacon and avocado. OMG YUM. Oh dear, there's a bacon trend going on, isn't there. I should probably be careful about that. Again, BabyT slept through most of the meal. I think the car ride and ambient noise in the restaurant puts her to sleep.

The babies are too little to really play together but they were definitely watching each other. BabyT got to try out BabyE's Bumbo seat (an assisted baby-sitting chair thingy), which fit her perfectly. I'm starting to regret my purchase of the main Bumbo competitor, the bebePod, just a little, because it's slightly too large for BabyT right now. But I bought it specifically because I thought she might grow out of the Bumbo more quickly. Oh well. It's hard to know with these baby things, until you try them out with YOUR baby. (Ask me about the 4 carriers we bought before finding one that works well...)

But a good time was had by all and Jenna even got a couple of really nice pictures for me (so I'm off the hook for DailyBaby today! Yay!)

This weekend is going to be a mad scramble for me to get done with all of my pre-Christmas Etsy and 1000 Markets orders. I'm in pretty good shape for those, but still have several to finish up. And I'm still getting a steady stream of after-Christmas orders as well. The luggage tags have been very popular this year.

And now, I'm leaving you with a picture that Jenna took today of me and two babies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Every day is a start of something beautiful

I really should blog more often, if only to have a quick record of the things BabyT and I are doing together in these early months. My Caltech friend Laura blogs *every day* about her little guys, and she has *twins*. So if she can find time, I should be able to. Geez.

Plus, it's like talking on the phone (which I hate, incidentally). When you don't talk to someone very often, you struggle for things to say because you're not sure what's important enough to discuss. But if you talk to someone every day, you can talk about the most banal random things and it's fine, because they are "caught up" with your daily life. With those once-every-six-month phone calls you have to try to remember the important big stuff to try and do the catching up.

Incidentally, I hate talking on the phone. I think it started after email became ubiquitous, because I spent HOURS on the phone in high school talking to friends I had just seen all day long. In college I discovered email and it was great. I could think about what I wanted to say, and I've always been better with writing than talking. TJ is the same way, so I guess we're MFEO. (that's "meant for each other" - remember the girl in Sleepless in Seattle?) He likes the fact that email is "asynchronous" which means you can respond when you are ready, unlike with the phone where you are literally on the hook to answer questions and make conversation right then. But I even like IM better than the phone - it must just be that I type better than I talk :)

So anyway, banal random things. Today BabyT and I went over to the big city of Seattle to visit our friend Lisa, and the Baby Bacon who's still on the inside. Lisa is due at the beginning of February so BabyT and I are anxious to meet the little guy. All we know about him now is that he likes hamburgers. (Lisa and I had a couple of lunches where we were both pregnant and craving hamburgers.)

Some background on how we know Lisa. She's married to Dave, who we met in college and might be one of the smartest people I have EVER met. Those final exams where the average score was 6/100 and one person scored over 90 and we were thinking "who the heck did that?". That was Dave. He's now a research professor studying quantum computing. Basically, he's smarter than rocket scientists. But once we beat him at Trivial Pursuit and that makes it all good. Apparently Lisa had read my blog before I met her, which was weird when I met her, because she already knew stuff about us. I guess that's what happens when you put your life on the Internet. But anyway, Lisa and I got along, and fortunately she works near us, so sometimes we have lunch.

We went to the Five Spot, which is one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle that I never remember when we're trying to find somewhere to eat. Every quarter they feature a cuisine from a different place. Right now it's St. Louis. I didn't know they had a special cuisine :) But I think they try not to repeat places, so they've probably done a lot of the interesting ones already. But since they had pumpkin pancakes on the menu, I got those. I'm pretty sure they're not a St. Louis specialty but boy, were they yummy. BabyT hung out in her infant seat looking around for a while, and then fell asleep for most of the meal. She's cooperative like that.

Then we hung out at Lisa's house for a little while, because BabyT needed to eat. She snorked down 8 oz of milk which was pretty impressive for one so tiny. We also got to see Baby Bacon's room, which is quite awesome. Lisa is creative and talented and has put together a roomful of vintage treasures and bright colors that don't scream "baby" but look cozy and perfect together. I really admire people with those design skills, which I am sorely lacking. And BabyT got to try out the changing table. She approves.

Which reminds me of why I like living in Seattle so much even though we've started the season of 9-months-of-grey-yuck. We have some really great friends here, who also happen to be in the same life stage as we are. (and some just ahead so we can get advice and hand-me-downs!) Though as TJ will tell you, our trial period in Seattle isn't over yet. And in the darkest depths of winter, on the 37th day in a row of grey drizzle, sometimes I fantasize about living somewhere warm and sunny. But that would mean making new friends, and I'm not excited about that. What is it about getting older that makes it so hard to make new friends? Sigh.

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